Milwaukee’s Racing Sausages among best traditions in baseball

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Photo by Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire

The Johnsonville sausages race during the sixth inning during the third game of the final home series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs on September 5, 2018, at Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI.

In the world of baseball, there are a number of special traditions. However, few are more unique than Milwaukee’s Racing Sausages.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, five styles of sausages compete in an all-out sprint from the left field warning track, behind home plate and through the finish line by first base. The tradition began in the early 1990s — with three animated characters on the scoreboard — before coming to life in June 1993.

Milwaukee fans likely remember games where they have watched the Racing Sausages. What they may not have known is that there are three Marquette students who take part in the sacred Milwaukee tradition.

“I’m a part of Brew Crew. What we do is game entertainment, so we oftentimes work the Kids Zone and whatnot. And more often than that, we’re the famous Racing Sausages,” Adam Frisk, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, said.

Frisk, along with Jacob Rose, a senior in the College of Communication, and Michael Garven, a junior in the College of Business, suit up during Brewers games in the iconic costumes and participate in the race among other duties.

“Five of us are assigned to be sausages for the day. It’s a pretty simple schedule,” Rose said. “We just rotate what we do every day and every game. It’s a bunch of fan experience stuff.”

Even with the pandemic, the students explained their duties as giant racing meats are still happening.

“We recorded about 25 races at different places around Milwaukee, and a couple in Madison (during the pandemic),” Garven said. “We’ve also been doing some community appearances as well.”

The Brewers have continued to post some of these races on their social media pages, mainly on their Twitter and Instagram. Since the Brewers had a four-game home-stand against the Chicago Cubs, there were four more races this weekend.

“Some of those four races (would) be the ones we ran at Camp Randall. That was probably the most exciting one,” Rose said.

The Marquette students explained that the races, although they might look scripted at times, are 100% real.

“They’re all legitimate races. There’s never any staging or anything like that. Whatever happens, happens,” Garven said.

Rose said that since the races are genuine, he used to keep track of the wins record for himself. Rose joined the Brew Crew in the beginning of last season.

“There’s not fan history, (so) I don’t know if there’s a record for fastest race or who has the most wins. My first year I (kept) track of all the races I won which was around 24, but I don’t really do that anymore,” Rose said.

Frisk said that while he does not keep track, he certainly has a winning record.

“I did for the first few months, but once we started working a bunch of games, I kind of lost the record, but it’s definitely a winning record. The only person that could ever beat me was (Rose), so I was maybe 13-2 before I stopped counting. Both of those losses were to him,” Frisk said.

Being that the Sausage Race is a unique opportunity, Frisk said that he appreciates the chance to take part in it, partly because of his background as a Brewers fan.

“I’m from Menominee Falls, so I’m definitely a Brewers fan. I’ve been to many games before and it’s cool being a sausage because I loved watching them as a kid,” Frisk said.

As a Racing Sausage and a part of the Brew Crew, Garven said there’s something unique about the job and their duties with the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Just being at the stadium is my favorite part of the job. Seeing all the things that happen in the tunnel and being a part of something bigger than our department,” Garven said. “What we do in the stadium doesn’t just affect our department, it affects overall fan engagement and the fans’ experience, so it’s pretty cool to be a part of that.”

This story was written by Bryan Geenen. He can be reached at bryan.geenen@marquette.edu.